Painter 12 Brush Review (and Photoshop, sort of)

I bought Painter 12 a while back and I really like it (and if you change to the Legacy Brush Resize tool, it's fairly stable too, at least for me).

I tried to get familiar with more of the stock brushes this time around, so this review includes some new brushes, but some old brushes I really liked as well.  This is a compressed review though, for the full version look here.
My favorite new brush:  Real 2b Pencil.
Least favorite new brush:  Real Oils, any of them
Favorite new brush that has actually been around for a few versions of Painter: "Grainy Water" Blender
What I hated most of all: Photoshop CS5's Mixer Brush Tool

Just so you know what criteria I'm judging by, if a brush is easy to get the behavior I want out of it, and the results look pretty good, then it is a good brush.  Brushes that are clumsy or non-intuitive get a low rating, regardless as to how good they look.  I want efficiency in painting more than anything else, and if I feel like I'm wrestling the program, my joy in painting just disappears.

So here's some of the other brushes I spent some time with:
Painter 10+ (and maybe earlier versions)
Blenders> Grainy Water: 2 thumbs up, best blender even in Painter 12
Watercolor> Wet Wash Flat: the least offensive of the watercolors for actual painting
Watercolor> Diffuse Bristle: great for adding natural texture
Digital Watercolor> New Simple Watercolor: 2 thumbs up, best for adding color to drawings

Painter 12
Real 2b Pencil: 2 thumbs up.  Most useful for drawing.
Variable Chisel Tip Marker: 2 thumbs up when opacity control changed to "Pressure."  Corel gets Markers right.
Real Pastels/Chalk: 1 thumb up by themselves, but two thumbs up with Grainy Water Blender
Real Watercolors:  1 thumb down.  You can't predict what they are going to do!
Real Oils: 2 thumbs down (nice looking, but painful to use)

Photoshop CS5 (CS5 doesn't have real stock brushes, so this is a review of the brush engine)
Basic brush tool: 1 thumb up if you use a Brush Preset that has some texture and add a little spacing/scatter/texture, 1 1/2 thumbs up when using dual brush functionality
Smudge tool:  2 thumbs down by itself, but if you modify it with a Preset, tie the strength to your pen's pressure, and adjust the spacing/scatter, you can get it to do some nice things.
Mixer Brush Tool:  Waste of effort.  Photoshop basically copied Painter's "Oils" controls, which are the most unwieldy part of Painter's brush engine.

4 comments:

DSM said...

Thanks for this thoughtful, intelligent post. With the holidays behind me; I'll get out my Painter 12 again.

Sakievich said...

Great review. Grainy Water has been around at least since version 6 (when I first started using Painter). Ryan Wood could probably tell you if it's older than that. It's still a favorite of mine.

Here's a tool I came across recently for photoshop that makes it more useable for me. http://anastasiy.com/colorwheel

While I don't do much finished work digitally anymore (I think the last time I did a really rendered piece was the summer I worked for avalanche before going out to NYC). I still find it helpful for sketching and testing out ideas.

Moraes Junior said...

Love it! Could you review MyPaint brushes either? Cheerios

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